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Secret to Alfredo Aceves success? He stopped shaking off his catcher

06.13.13 at 12:09 am ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ‘€“ There are probably a few reasons why Alfredo Aceves was able to do what he did in the Red Sox‘€™ 2-1 win over the Rays Wednesday night.

His stuff was good. His command continued to improve. And he was going up against a team in Tampa Bay whose starting lineup came into the game hitting .075 (3-for-40) against him.

But there might be one secret to Aceves’€™ success that trumps all else: He hasn’€™t shaken off his catcher in the last two starts.

‘€œWe have mentioned it from spring training on,’€ said Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves after the starter’€™s six-inning outing in which he gave up one run. ‘€œI’€™m glad he’€™s buying into it. We do a lot of work for that. We spend a lot of time on that stuff.

‘€œThat’€™s nice, especially from him. We’€™re on the same page. It’€™s nice.’€

Prior to his recent promotion from Triple-A Pawtucket, when he was called upon to go up against Philadelphia, Aceves was known for shaking off seemingly every called pitch from his battery-mate.

But with the emphasis on trusting his catcher ‘€“ who, in the case of the last two outings, was Jarrod Saltalmacchia ‘€“ Aceves has bought in.

‘€œHis stuff has been the same. It’€™s sharp. Maybe the mental approach of just coming in and letting his stuff play,’€ Saltlamacchia said. ‘€œI think that has been the biggest thing. He’€™s had such great stuff he doesn’€™t have to over-think it over over-pitch. That’€™s what he has done the last two outings and pitched great.’€

In his recent two spot starts, Aceves gone a combined 12 innings, allowing two runs while striking out seven and walking seven.

He will return to Triple-A Pawtucket to allow for relief help heading into the Baltimore series, but remains a strong candidate to make one of the starts in Tuesday’€™s day-night doubleheader against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park. (The team can recall Aceves to serve as the extra player allowed each team for doubleheaders.)

‘€œThat’€™s the way we live,’€ said Aceves when asked about being sent back and forth to Pawtucket. ‘€œThat’€™s the way we live.’€

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